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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Microsoft Office Starter 2010

Microsoft are working with major PC manufacturers and their retail partners on plans to pre load new PCs with Office 2010. These new PCs will be bought with a product key card that will enable customers to “unlock” their suite of Office programs. The product key card is a single license card (with no DVD media) that will be sold at major electronic retail outlets.

This method of delivery enables a simpler and faster path for consumers to begin using any one of three full versions of Microsoft Office:

* Office Home & Student 2010
* Office Home & Business 2010
* Office Professional 2010

A new addition to the Office 2010 range is the Microsoft Office Starter 2010 suite. Office Starter 2010 is a cut down version of Office 2010 with reduced functionality. This product will only be available pre loaded on new PCs, and will replace the free product Microsoft Works. Unlike Microsoft Works, however, Office Starter 2010 is advertising-supported.

Office Starter includes:

* Office Word Starter 2010
* Office Excel Starter 2010

Each program features only basic functionality and offers the user a taste of the Office 2010 experience. The facility to create, view and edit documents is there within an environment consistent with the new Office 2010 experience. There is, of course, a simple path to upgrade to a fully-featured version of Office 2010 directly from within the product.
Office 2010 Click To Run

There will be a whole new download experience for consumers who want to try and then buy Office 2010. Click To Run will reduce the time and effort required to download the new version of Office, and will automatically install updates and patches when there is an internet connection available. Click To Run’s virtualisation technology will enable users to run Office 2010 side by side with prior versions of Office on the same machine.
Next Spring Microsoft will commercially release the Office 2010 suite, while at the same time Works will be replaced by Office Starter 2010. Containing Office Word Starter 2010 and Office Excel Starter 2010, the Office Starter 2010 suite will have all of the basic functions so that you can read, edit and create documents.

Office Starter 2010 will only be offered on new PC (pre-installed) via Microsoft OEM partners. The suite will be freely offered, with the deployment being financed through advertising. This pack will also be compatible with all Office file formats while also being able to handle the Open XML and ODF formats which have been developed following ISO standards.

With a user interface identical to Office, Office Starter 2010 will also be an entry point towards the full version thanks to an upgrade process which is available in just a few clicks. This option may only interest experienced users through, as a novice user may not necessarily require anything extra than normal word processing and basic excel tables.

With the release of the Office 2010 beta version, Microsoft has also sent out a trial version of the Office Starter 2010 suite to a group of testers. For ZDNet, Mary-Jo Foley has already taken a quick look around and noticed that there are some restrictions on this basic version. In terms of file formats, the compatibility with Word and Excel 2010 won’t be perfect, as Word Starter and Excel Starter 2010 don’t exactly support the same level of files.

Office Starter 2010 won’t be able to open files with the .dsn, .mde, .accde and .udl extensions which are database related. In the same way, the .xla and .xlam files linked to Excel macros are also not compatible. Generally speaking, if a document contains a macro, then the document will be opened by Office Starter 2010 but the macro will be disabled. The suite is also not capable of creating or editing a macro.

Files with the .odc extension, an OpenDocument format for diagrams will also not be included in Office Starter 2010. To these limits we can add the lack of certain options like the automatic creation of a summery and dynamically linked table.

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